An unusual, intelligent and well-crafted sci-fi/thriller, "THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR" is available on blu-ray from SONY. Originally released soon after "THE MATRIX," its virtual computer subplot and twists, were completely overshadowed by the bigger film. It's a shame, because "THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR," while not as brilliant as the original "MATRIX," is certainly better than its two sequels, and it holds up pretty well ten years after its debut.
The story opens in 1937 Los Angeles where we meet Hannon Fuller, a playboy, giving a letter to a bartender/confidante. Cut to: Present day Los Angeles, Hannon wakes from the simulation program he was just part of! Hannon's job as a computer scientist, places him on the thirteenth floor of the corporate office building his integrated computer system employs to create the 1937 of Hannon's past. When Hannon is murdered, his friend/confidante, Douglas Hall(the friend in 1937 simulation)is the main suspect. It's up to Hall to uncover dark secrets that will affect not only his life, but everyone around him as well. "THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR" breezily jumps from the past to present and back, without any jarring effect on the viewer and the story's twists and big surprise, packs a whallop, so don't let anyone tell the ending before seeing it for the first time!
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray release. The quality varies from the eras depicted with the modern setting sometimes lacking the consistency of depth found in the older setting. Colors are generally solid and even rich in spots, but not as vibrant as one hopes for considering the computer imagery simulation effects. There are also a surprising amount of artifacts and digital pixelation glitches popping up a few times. It's not a bad transfer, and often quite good, with jump-off-the-screen type of depth. It's just disappointing that the image doesn't come close to achieving the "reference quality" presentation that fans and new fans sure to discover "THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR" deserve.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. This mix boosts the film's atmosphere with the "WOW" kind of impact one wishes had been in the visual presentation. From opening credits to the end, ambient effects immerse the viewer in an environment that's consistently exciting. Bass effects are plentiful, but dialogue and music are perfectly balanced, without being overshadowed. The sci-fi elements are well complimented due to the dynamic range and mix as presented. It's a great mix!
The commentary with the film's writer/director and production designer is pretty dry. The music video, from the Cardigans, is presented in standard resolution. There will be BD-LIVE extras, available upon street date!